Fargen - over the top

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bluesdoc, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    So, I'm a few weeks into ownership of my Fargen custom amp. Not quite sure what to call it. Says Bordeaux on the chassis but Ben says it's unique to/for me. Blackbird clean and VOS/SCO lead with 6L6 power section, no rev, but series loop where I put all my time based eff, vol pedal, and wah (all conveniently on my GNX2). Channel switch and boost that ups the gain on the lead channel. Until last night, I'd only been able to play it tamely at home and with my 'quiet' band. I'd been waiting for my 'loud' band to get together and it finally happened last night. This is a new band, old players, doing classic rock, southern rock, etc. The other guitarist sings well and does mostly rhythm. Until using the amp last night, I'd parked my C50 head there, used pedals for lead, and various cabs. Sounded OK. The Fargen is a combo with a Cel Century Vintage speaker. Tweed finish and total weight way less than 40#.

    At home, I've run my 'rack' over and over (strats with and without br humbuckers, prs hb, few others and my Soloway Swan. The Swan consistently came out on top for best tone, hands down. So, I brought it to the rehearsal/jam.

    I spent hardly any time on the clean channel. It was rock n roll, fer crissakes!! I'd kept the lead master around 9 oclock at home but had it up just past noon.

    It was the most incredible playing and sounding experience I've ever had. Toneful, cutting, searing, singing, well defined but screaming, oozing sounds just popped off the fretboard. Double stops rang with a rainbow of harmonics. Nothing harsh or clipping (as in sq wavish). Yes, it was damn loud, but my 9db filters protected me while letting enough in to 'feel the love'.

    I've played a number of really good amps over the last few years (including a bunch of TRocks, Fuchs, Koch, Shiva, VHT, and a few others) as well as great lead pedals. But I've never experienced what I heard and felt last night. Maybe it was the setting - lots of room to play (in the mix), loud enough, etc. Whatever it was, it knocked my socks off and left me knowing that there isn't anything better (for me!!). Different, equal, whatever, but this IS right up there with as good as it gets - or I should say, as good as it's ever been for me.

    The amp sounds very good in my studio at very tame levels. But like many amps, the magic doesn't fully happen until you can take it out on the autobahn and open up the MV.

    So, this is a delayed honeymoon for me and the Fargen. I will post more of a review when this newness has passed.

    The Soloway Swan continues to amaze me. The long scale is NOT an impediment to anything I play. Sure, there's the occasional stretch that's challenging, but general playing in many ways seems easier for me. I like having all that real estate on the fretboard, especially high up. But the tones (bluesbucker pups)are simply without equal compared to my other guitars - that I consider to be very good sounding and playing. The match of the Swan and Fargen is truly magical for me. A few of you know what I'm talking about.

    I might acquire more amps and guitars, but not to find something better. Just 'cause it's fun to do so........:) Thank you Ben, and Jim and last but not least to Cliff C who uniquely 'enabled' my latent GAS with his gentle nudging...... :) He knew......

    jon
     
  2. Lution

    Lution Member

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    Glad to hear more Fargen love. A new Blackbird combo is set to land next week for me. Can't wait!
     
  3. TNJ

    TNJ Gold Supporting Member

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    Sounds great, Jon!
    What did your bandmates think of your new "little rig"?

    S.
    j
     
  4. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    Hey Jon, that sounds great. Could you give a quick rundown of the exact specs, like - dimensions of the cab, wattage, front panel controls, etc.? It seems like a real winner if you get killer gain plus a blackface type clean in a package that lightweight and custom/hand made.
     
  5. mude

    mude Supporting Member

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    Fun to find one that really works for you. Enjoy. :)

    Evan.
     
  6. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Matt, gimme a bit and I'll take some more pics and actually measure it. Mmm, I must have the dimensions in my email to Susan at STudioSlips.... I'll dig it up......

    It is a tweed 'style' as well as finish, so all controls are on the top. Loop send and return level pots, clean vol, bass, treb and a voicing switch, lead gain, MV, treb, M, B and a voicing switch for that channel.

    Corollary to that configuration, the back controls are back and underneath. Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but certainly out of harms way -- fs, bias pot, bias points, return and send jacks, output jacks (configured as 2 16s and 1 8 ohm, so if I want to run an ext cab in parallel, I put the combo spker in one 16 and the ext in the other. I didn't see a need for a 4 ohm tap. standby, power, and IEC jack. Tubes face the front of the cab and the whole chassis comes off with the back panel for very easy servicing, though tube swapping can be a bit of a reach. But I've done it, with the pre tubes anyway. I had a bunch of NOS or ANOS RCA X7s I put in. Nice :) I elected NOT to use a spring reverb as I like to use a serial loop and it's easy to put any number of reverbs there.

    40W that sounds like 100......

    more to come.

    jon
     
  7. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Always!! Congrats jon. The Fargen experience is unique, magical, and for me as well, as good as it can get.

    :cool:
     
  8. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    Hi Jon, are you running stock tubes???

    Are the Century speakers bright?? I find the amp a bit too dark with darkish speakers (my Red Fangs aren't a good match, for example. G12H30s are perfect for my tastes).

    I have the stock VOS, and I really like it alot. Compared to the Constellation, it has maybe 5% less clarity, which I attribute to, probably, the tubes, since the Connie has some nice tubes in it.

    The VOS responds very much like a Wreck. It has alot more low end, and less strident top end. Doesn't clean up as well as a Wreck, though.
     
  9. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    Too cool. I love reading reports like this; and glad you found such magic in the Swan/Fargen combo. Rock on Jon!!!
     
  10. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I replaced the preamp tubes with my ANOS RCAs, so far. The Century Vintage is not 'overly' bright like the non-Vintage version. I don't know - it seems really well balanced. We changed a couple of cap values in the loop as this was a new loop config for Ben, to put some brightness back in, which worked perfectly. With my back, I'll only use neo speakers....... :rolleyes: Also, I don't need to be concerned about 'cleaning up' with the vol knob as I've got the clean channel at my disposal. However, when I've got the lead boost on, I can dial it down to more of a crunch with the guitar's vol. Also, with the Bluesbucker bridge on the swan, I can spend the whole session just on the br pup. It has enough sparkle over the beef to cover lots of needs, clean and lead wise. Damn, I love those pups.

    I think Geoff (mountain blues) said it sometime back, that you can get a very smooth transistion between the clean and lead tones. The lead channel is so touch sensitive, even when ready to roar, light picking with a slight vol rolloff sounds a lot like the clean channel.

    jon
     
  11. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    Stop it already! The pics were bad enough!

    I'm perfectly happy with my Sewell
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    I'm perfectly happy with my Sewell
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    I'm prefectly happy with my Sewell
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    I'm perfectly happy with my Sewell
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    I'm prefectly happy....... Ohmmmmm.
     
  12. Plan9FOS

    Plan9FOS Member

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    Man, I have debated getting the custom 2 channel head like you have for quite awhile ... this is killing me! I have a VOS, and switch back and forth with a separate head for cleans. How much clean headroom do you get with your custom dual channel?

    I love the smooth gain sound of my VOS for leads, and I back off my guitars vol knob to get a crunch tone. Do you setup the lead channel for slight breakup/crunch, and then hit it with the gain boost for leads?

    How much boost do you get with the gain boost engaged? Or is it more saturation as opposed to volume?

    Sorry to ask so many questions ... :)

    Congrats on the new amp!
     
  13. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Yowsa! Sounds like a winner! I sold my Fargen 1x12 6v6 Blackbird for no good reason other than I wanted to try a Dr. Z Maz Jr. The cleans on the Fargen were a beautiful experience and a new benchmark for me. The Z is so different a comparison isn't even fair but I will say that I miss that sweet and deep saxophone voice the Fargen had enough to definitely look for another some day. Ben has talent, fer sure.
     
  14. straticus

    straticus Member

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    Congrats on the Fargen! As a fellow Fargen owner I know just what you're feeling. I've played the VOS / Soloway combination and I agree, it's a good one.

    There's something so organic about Ben's amps. I just had the VOS up-date done to my Bordeaux (review soon) and it upped the love another notch. I was packing up after one of our gigs when the head of artist relations for Mesa Boogie came on stage, started looking in the back of the amp and asking questions about it. I think he liked it too.;)
     
  15. Stevo57

    Stevo57 Supporting Member

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    Fargen A!

    You must try the VOS with a Scumback SA12 75 HP. Really!
     
  16. joel

    joel Member

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    Cool, Jon! A super modern amp disguised as a tweed. I bet you surprize people when you power that thing up.


    My VOS is a bit congested, when run through the stock cab & a TR65 speaker. I've got all Mullards in mine right now, but I plan on substituting some of the little tubes for Teles to trade off some heavy cream for champagne, or the like.

    Interesting that MikeyG compares his to a Constellation! I've never played one (or even seen one), but I imagined Constellation to be harder, brighter, meaner. VOS is a very comfy amp to play.

    I'll have to look into that Scumback speaker. I'm thinking the TR65 might be a bit too thick and mellow. I don't have any bright cabs, as I don't usually like that tone.
     
  17. Stevo57

    Stevo57 Supporting Member

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    Joel, too bad you didn't get a chance to plug into it when Big Mike had his at the Tonegurus gig. I have that Red Z cab at mi casa that Mike had his Rockytop on. Its definitely a little brighter than the V30 but not spikey like the V30 can be. Smooth and open would be a good description. My own SA12 75 HP should be on the doorstep when I get home today. Courtesy of the good Scumbags Holiday pricing.
     
  18. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't know about the TRock65 but my experience with the Celestion 65 was exactly that. Too thick and mellow. This was many amps ago, but I had a bunch of other speakers to compare it with and it didn't do anything for me. I might have to quit the Robben fan club........:rolleyes:

    jon
     
  19. MikeyG

    MikeyG Supporting Member

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    All those things are absolutely true. Sonically. If you read it again, I said it 'responds' like a Wreck. That was the only basis for the Wreck comparison.

    Well, I was also comparing it to a Wreck in terms of being a 1 channel amp, and how well it cleans up as compared to a Wreck, which is always held in high regard for how well it cleans up.
     
  20. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, I agree with you guys, Fargen's VOS circuit really is something else. The Epic 30 DC/VOS is a very cool design and the cleans are a unique hybid between a Vox and a Fender. I like the fact that Ben was able to tweak the VOS design to rock with EL-84s and it allows me to get singing feedback at much more reasonable volumes (besides, I love the EL-84 voicing).

    I don't know how Ben did it, but he managed to get some massive low end out of EL-84s. Now I'm going through speakers trying to find the best match for both of the channels. I've got a nice, thick and smooth tone with the Hellatone 30 and Silver Bell in there, but at the same time, I'm looking to brighten things up a bit and get a bit more upper mids in the setup, so hopefully on the 9th when my Red Fang ships, I'll have found "it".

    Ben's been swearing by the Naylor SD-50 in his amps, I really need to get a 1x12'' extension cab with one of those in it to hear what he's been talking about. They sound like they're perfect for the VOS.
     

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